Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Diagnostic and therapeutic target for brain tumor

Technology #2584

“Lead Inventors: Antonio Iavarone, M.D.; Andrea Califano, Ph.D.

Biomarker transcription factors used as diagnostic and to target treatment of high-grade gliomas: High-grade gliomas are the most common form of brain tumors in human beings. Generally brain tumors are treated similarly to other forms of tumors with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. But, there are very limited specific drugs that selectively target brain tumors.

Glioma brain cancer biomarker for use as diagnostic and drug development: The technology identified a pair of transcription factors that are master regulators of the mesenchymal state of brain cells, which is responsible for the development of high-grade gliomas in humans. The technology showed that this pair of transcription factors are sufficient to initiation and maintain the expression of the mesenchymal set of genes, suppress proneural genes and trigger invasion and a malignant mesenchymal phenotype in the mouse. Conversely, silencing of these two transcription factors depletes glioma stem cells and cells of mesenchymal attributes and greatly impairs their ability to invade. Therefore, this pair of transcription factors can be used in a diagnostic, and serve as potential drug targets for the treatment of high-grade gliomas.

Applications: • The technology can used to develop novel diagnostic test for high-grade gliomas, based on the expression of the transcription factors • The technology can used to develop specific therapy for high-grade gliomas by inhibiting or interfering the expression of the transcription factors

Advantages: • The technology provides a therapeutic target directly relevant to high-grade gliomas: new drug or treatment can be developed with fewer side effects and more efficiency and specificity; new diagnostic test can be developed with more accuracy.

Patent Status: Patent Pending

Licensing Status: Available for Licensing and Sponsored Research Support

Publications: Nature. 2010 Jan 21;463(7279):318-25. The transcriptional network for mesenchymal transformation of brain tumours. Carro MS, Lim WK, Alvarez MJ, Bollo RJ, Zhao X, Snyder EY, Sulman EP, Anne SL, Doetsch F, Colman H, Lasorella A, Aldape K, Califano A, Iavarone A.

Columbia University Press-Release: Columbia Scientists Discover Two Genes That Drive Aggressive Brain Cancers ”